STEPHEN WELSH is preparing to live the dream when Celtic take on RB Leipzig under the lights in the east end of Glasgow tomorow night.
The 22-year-old Hoops centre-back put in an impressive shift in the Red Bull Arena five days ago, but could not prevent the team from toppling to a disappointing 3-1 loss.
However, Welsh knows the Group F return against the Bundesliga outfit will be a whole new ball game and a unique experience if he is given the nod to face Nkunku, Werner and Co at a pulsating Parkhead with the supporters, as ever, willing to play their part in making sure their heroes are a roaring success.
RUNNING AMBITION…Stephen Welsh hopes to play his part against RB Leipzig in the Champions League at Parkhead tomorrow night.
The former Scotland Under-21 international captain said: “I have played away from home in Europe, but it is a different kettle of fish playing at home on a Champions League night.
“Hopefully, we can use that to our advantage. It will be my first Champions League start at Celtic Park if I am picked. It is obviously good playing away from home, but a Champions League night at Celtic Park will be a different occasion.
“We need to think of it as a game that we need to go and perform in. We need to play our football and go and win the game.”
Agreeing the Hoops’ fate is entirely in their own hands, Welsh said: “We want to go and put a good performance in, play our football against Leipzig, which we did in parts on Wednesday.
“We have got to do that for the full 90 minutes instead of just wee bits and pieces.
JOY…Alex Mitchell races away in delight as Stephen Welsh looks on after St Johnston’e stoppage-time equaliser.
WOE…the Saints players slump to the ground as the full-time whistle sounds and Celtic have won again.
”We know it is going to be tough, but we are going to go into it the same way and try to play our football, attack and press high. That is probably what you would expect from us now. It is about recovering and preparing.
“We will be ready to go again tomorrow night.”
Welsh insisted the champions once again enphasised their never-say-die spirit at the weekend when they conceded an equaliser to St Johnstone in Perth in the third minute of stoppage-time – and then came back to score the winner through Giorgos Giakoumakis 70 seconds later.
The versatile back-four performer, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “That is what this club is all about. As the manager said, we keep going, we never stop.
“We suffered a setback late on, but we kept going, we kept pursuing and Alexandro Bernabei has done brilliantly down the left wing and, thankfully, that one has gone in.
“We created a lot of chances and we just have to trust in ourselves, trust the players around us. If the manager trusts you to go and play you should trust yourself to go and play. I thought we did that.
“We could have been three or four up before they scored. We always create chances. It is about putting them away.
CELEBRATIONS…Stephen Welsh, Kyogo Furuhashi, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Alexandro Bernabei go through the usual routine with the fans after their last-gasp triumph.
“We switched off in the last couple of minutes and conceded a poor goal from our point of view. But the character the boys showed was great. We have done it many times before and we will look to push on tomorrow.”
Welsh also had a special word of praise for matchwinner Giakoumakis who played the entire 90-plus minutes with top scorer Kyogo Furuhashi on the substitutes’ bench throughout.
The centre-back added: “Giako has been brilliant. He is always waiting for his chance whether he comes off the bench or plays a full 90.
“You always fancy him to nick a goal and he did it at the perfect moment.”
The Hoops go into the encounter looking for their first win in the section following defeats against Real Madrid and the Germans and drawing with Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw.